Networking tips: Bring your own nametag

I bought myself a pack of inkjet/laser self-adhesive name tags, which turned out to be a remarkably good idea. Before heading to Dave Forde's networking get-together last Friday, I printed out a nametag that not only gave my name but also included an experimental tagline: "Tech evangelist, storyteller, conversationalist, geekette".

Dave Forde's networking get-together was a very informal one, just a bunch of people standing around in a pub sipping beverages while chatting. I was the only one with a nametag - a printed nametag, at that! - and that garnered me quite a number of compliments for my foresight. Despite the lack of nametags, I was generally good at keeping everyone's names sorted in my head. Having a printed nametag on made it easier for people to remember my name in conversation, though. Having felt the embarrassment of forgetting someone's name right after an introduction too many times, I'm glad I could make things smoother for other people by wearing a nametag.

The nametag was also handy at the second networking event I went to on the invitation of someone I'd just met at Dave Forde's get-together. At that event, people wore nametags of masking tape. Again, my large printed nametag stood out, and the keywords on it prompted conversations.

I think that bringing a prepared nametag to events is a terrific idea. Even at events with proper nametags, preparing a nametag allows you to pay more attention to design and to stand out from the crowd.

Clip-on nametags may be even more effective because then I don't have to worry about what material I'm wearing. They also allow other tricks. I remember Richard Boardman's nifty lifehack for nametags. The CHI 2006 nametag holders were top-loading plastic, so he put business cards behind his nametag. He also put business cards he received into the nametag case. Very accessible location - no shuffling around for a business card case.

Note to self: I should always carry masking tape and a marker to these events. To help even more, perhaps I should always carry self-adhesive nametags. Hmm...

Preparing a nametag was definitely a good idea. You should try it at your next networking event!

On Technorati: ,